12 November 2006

Victoria Cross: R. D. Sandford


Lieutenant, Royal Navy; commanding HM Submarine C-3

Born: 11 May 1891, Exmouth, Devon
Died: 23 November 1918, Eston Hospital, Yorkshire

Citation: For most conspicuous gallantry.
This officer was in command of Submarine C.3, and most skilfully placed that vessel in between the piles of the viaduct [at Zeebrugge, Belgium, on 23 Apr 1918] before lighting his fuse and abandoning her. He eagerly undertook this hazardous enterprise, although well aware (as were all his crew) that if the means of rescue failed and he or any of his crew were in the water at the moment of the explosion, they would be killed outright by the force of such explosion. Yet Lieutenant Sandford disdained to use the gyro steering, which would have enabled him and his crew to abandon the submarine at a safe distance, and preferred to make sure, as far as was humanly possible, of the accomplishment of his duty.

(London Gazette Issue 30807 dated 23 Jul 1918, published 19 Jul 1918.)

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